How Is Child Support Calculated in Virginia?

My kids and I have recently separated from my spouse (or partner). How much money will I have to pay/how much money can I expect to receive in child support?

One of the most common concerns among recently separated parents is what the financial landscape will look like once they separate from their spouse or partner. Questions arise such these:

·       How will the kids and I maintain our new lives?

·       Will the other parent pay for ballet classes or soccer league?

·       How much will I have to pay now that we’ve finally separated?

The answer to all of these questions will depend on a variety of facts that interplay in each individual case.

Virginia’s laws set forth a schedule of monthly child support obligations based on the parents’ combined gross monthly income and the number of children, to which health insurance and day-care costs are added. How much a noncustodial parent pays in support will depend on the type of custody. For instance, where one parent has primary physical custody, the child support amount will depend on the proportion of the noncustodial parent’s income to the parents’ overall combined income. For shared custody situations, child support will be based on the ratio of days that each parent has the child.

Many child support “calculators” exist online to simplify the various support formulas. Unfortunately, this calculation isn’t always as easy as punching a bunch of numbers into a computer. A number of scenarios allow a court to “deviate” from the presumptive child support amount, or in other words, to go above or below what the law presumes the child support amount should be. These scenarios can include children with special needs, a custodial parent having to take on child-care costs to obtain a degree or education, travel costs for visitation, monetary support from other family members, and each parent’s earning potential.

Having a noncustodial spouse who operates their own business can also muddy the child-support waters. Virginia allows business owners to deduct reasonable business expenses for purposes of calculating their monthly income for child support. What’s reasonable can vary depending on the court and judge. Unfortunately, many business owners also underreport their income or deal in cash transactions. For these reasons, it is important to gather information regarding the business, including tax returns, work schedules, client lists, profit and loss statements, etc.

As you can tell, child support can be a lot more nuanced and complicated than simply plugging numbers into a calculator. It is important to have an experienced and competent family law attorney on your side when confronting this issue.

For more information about support issues, or for any family law, criminal law, or personal injury matter, please contact me at 804-320-6600 or by e-mail at jbaez@hmalaw.com.

This post is provided as an educational service and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers who need assistance with a legal matter should retain the services of competent counsel.

Family LawJesse Baez